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Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
Lessons on the Road to Peace by John Noltner is a collection of photographs and narratives by the author as he traveled across the United States. Inspired by the national outcry following the death of George Floyd and a desire to discover the diverse face of Americans during the distancing and isolating conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, Noltner and his wife Karen sold their house. They lived and traveled in an RV for nine hundred days and covered 93,000 miles to gather stories about issues that define us as a nation. The photography and narratives capture the journey itself and present a variety of social issues and the thoughts of the many people they met and interviewed. Lists of resources and questions for self-reflection or group discussion are included.
In Lessons on the Road to Peace, award-winning photographer John Noltner gives us a thoughtful, thought-provoking, and visually delightful model of engagement on issues of national concern. While the issues may be controversial for some, Noltner personalizes and humanizes them, puts faces and words to them, and fosters the sharing of experiences and emotions to build bridges of understanding. I was reminded of the adage that there is more that unites us than divides us. The photography is utterly gorgeous, whether it’s of a colorful street scene, a mesmerizing nature scene, fascinating people in their varied surroundings, or the eight clusters of striking black-and-white portraits that capture the answers to a series of questions. I especially appreciated the variety of topics and the depth of content. This is an engaging and inspirational book.